Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
I found this article interesting because it was the first comment I could find by someone with some expertise in this area of law that specifically pertained to situations such as these grab-bags.

The bottom line is that, when it comes to lottery laws, there is a real risk for US games companies. Not only are lottery laws enforced by federal agencies, they are also enforced by state agencies and consumers. This is the proverbial litigation trifecta - federal investigations, state investigations, and class actions.

http://www.developingconcerns.com/20...lem-in-the-us/
The basic gist of the article is, if you read it carefully, this is a pretty virgin area of law, while not necessarily illegal, gaming companies are going out on a legal limb as they not only have the potential of risking class action lawsuits (that seems to be a normal risk of doing business these days) but possible prosecution under State and Federal laws.

To be honest, I have no idea whether these ship lotteries are legal, but it certainly strikes me as potentially unethical to strongly promote this item and feed into consumer demand without disclosing the information to customers that would be required to make an informed decision (i.e. the odds of winning the ship).

I have not really been bothered by most of what Cryptic has done with the game because I love Star Trek. I am not really even bothered by them selling a "chance" to win the ship. What bothers me is that Cryptic is promoting the sale of these gift boxes primarily by hyping the opportunity to get the ship without ever disclosing the likelihood of that occurring.

If you feel that this could constitute a misleading business practice or a lottery scheme, I suggest you file your complaint with the California Attorney General here:

http://ag.ca.gov/contact/complaint_form.php?cmplt=CL
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2 spelling
12-10-2011, 02:31 PM
Playing Devi's Advocate here, I do not like the lottery boxes at all, I'm just pointing out some things that makes the boxes not a real lottery.

First: The box is technically attainable for free in game from the event. So people do not have to pay for it if they do not want to. PWE/Cryptic is just offering a way for people who do not have the time to grind out the event to still get the boxes.

Second The boxes give something to everyone, it's just random what you get. So unlike a normal lottery where you have a chance to get nothing, you still get get something with PWE/Cryptic lottery boxes. Even if said item is the 10th one you got, or doesn't help you much, its still "something" that you technically paid for.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
12-10-2011, 02:33 PM

This is not an article pertaining to the grab bags and the ships. You're "lottery" statement fails on chance. There is no chance, you have a 100% chance of getting something of value. Just because you don't get the ship doesn't mean you didn't receive goods in consideration for your money.

You're more than welcome to get a lawyer and sue if you feel you've been wronged, heck, in the U.S. I think it's become the most popular activity!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
12-10-2011, 02:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kebron View Post
Second The boxes give something to everyone, it's just random what you get. So unlike a normal lottery where you have a chance to get nothing, you still get get something with PWE/Cryptic lottery boxes. Even if said item is the 10th one you got, or doesn't help you much, its still "something" that you technically paid for.
Not only that, but they played their cards very well by ensuring that the average value of what you get is at least as much as what you paid for the box.

In monetary terms I'd guess this would 'exempt' it from gambling laws since its less like a lotto ticket and more like;

"If you pay 50$ you could win 50$ of gas, 50$ of groceries, or 1 in 100000 could win a mansion and a jet"

Is it still a stinky-as-all-heck low-down-no-good business practice?
Well in my mind yes.
Games exist for enjoyment as far as I'm concerned. If players can not be happy and developers well paid simultaneously then a company needs to just quit and do something else.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
12-10-2011, 02:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kebron View Post
Playing Devi's Advocate here, I do not like the lottery boxes at all, I'm just pointing out some things that makes the boxes not a real lottery.

First: The box is technically attainable for free in game from the event. So people do not have to pay for it if they do not want to. PWE/Cryptic is just offering a way for people who do not have the time to grind out the event to still get the boxes.

Second The boxes give something to everyone, it's just random what you get. So unlike a normal lottery where you have a chance to get nothing, you still get get something with PWE/Cryptic lottery boxes. Even if said item is the 10th one you got, or doesn't help you much, its still "something" that you technically paid for.

Well, sweepstakes are legal in California, but for something to qualify as a sweepstakes, you have to have an equal chance of winning the prize without paying as somebody who paid. If running the race guaranteed you a red box, then Cryptic might actually be able to define this as a sweepstakes, but clearly that is not the case.

Secondly, I see nothing in the California penal code on lotteries (319) that would imply that simply by offering a guarantee of some form of prize to all contestants your scheme would not be considered a lottery. Grab bags of trading cards always offer some prize to purchasers but are specifically defined as a lottery under PC 319.2.

I am not sure whether or not this constitutes a lottery, but if it does not, I am fairly certain it is not because of the reasons you have given.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
12-10-2011, 02:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kebron View Post
Playing Devi's Advocate here, I do not like the lottery boxes at all, I'm just pointing out some things that makes the boxes not a real lottery.

First: The box is technically attainable for free in game from the event. So people do not have to pay for it if they do not want to. PWE/Cryptic is just offering a way for people who do not have the time to grind out the event to still get the boxes.

Second The boxes give something to everyone, it's just random what you get. So unlike a normal lottery where you have a chance to get nothing, you still get get something with PWE/Cryptic lottery boxes. Even if said item is the 10th one you got, or doesn't help you much, its still "something" that you technically paid for.
You can also trade DL for C-points and buy it from the store like that. You can also buy the ship on the exchange. Its pretty expensive, but that doesnt change the fact that you have multiple ways of getting it without spending any real money.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
12-10-2011, 02:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan_Kent View Post
Not only that, but they played their cards very well by ensuring that the average value of what you get is at least as much as what you paid for the box.
I seriously doubt that.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
12-10-2011, 02:41 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan_Kent View Post
"If you pay 50$ you could win 50$ of gas, 50$ of groceries, or 1 in 100000 could win a mansion and a jet"
Actually, I think their lawyers are probably counting on the courts looking at it like say, a pack of baseball cards. The major difference here though is that baseball cards have industry guides that give a clear indication of your probability of getting a specific card.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
12-10-2011, 02:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitsuneRommel
I seriously doubt that.
they have said the average value of the box is 115 points, and we pay 100.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
12-10-2011, 02:42 PM
They will just claim that the contents of the present is what the customer is paying for and the ship is just a rare chance bonus item. You are getting something for the 100 CP or $1.25. I don't think it's worth it worth it and that's why I wont buy it. Companies are selling these around the world and in the US, so it's not a illegal lottery.
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